As their last competition for the season, Western Washington University's figure skating club will be participating in the 2023 Ride the Tide in San Diego, California, March 11-12. With the competition closing in, members of the club prepare their programs and master their skills hoping for a positive outcome.
The team is focused not only on winning but on having a good time and bettering themselves.
"My goal is to do better," said Meghan Lindhorst, second-year Western student and member of the team. "As long as I can get out there and say I did better than [at the last competition] and that I've grown, I would be happy with myself."
Ride the Tide is a way for members to challenge themselves while enjoying the atmosphere around them.
"Put it all out there because it's your moment. You're the only one out there so have your moment, enjoy it and shine," said Caleb Niva, the club's coach.
According to Western fourth-year student and club leader Jane Ewing, the team forms alliances with other schools and bonds through these competitions.
Ewing placed first in her category during their most recent competition, Golden Bears Skate, and will be leveling up her skill for this competition.
"I get to add new elements that I've never competed before," she said.
Not only are club members preparing for the competition individually, they’re working as a team and helping each other improve.
"Everyone is super available to help you when you are struggling with something and they give great tips," said Libby Moscovitz, Western fourth-year student and club member.
Moscovitz transferred to Western in the fall and has found most of their friends through the club.
"Figure skating has allowed me to make a lot of a lot of friends that I don't know if I would have made without this team," Moscovitz said.
As part of leadership, Western fourth-year student and club manager Ilona Brose and Ewing try to make members feel welcome and be available for people who need help.
"I've met so many people through it and it gives me a nice hobby. It's not like anything else," said Kay McKenzie, a Western fourth-year student and club member.
Members recall how at one point, skating was something they hated, as they weren't skating for themselves but to live up to others' standards. Now, the club's inclusive dynamic has allowed members to find a new love for figure skating.
"We all skate for ourselves, not for others. It's empowering," Brose said.
Like Brose, Ewing loathed skating as a child but now she is doing it for herself and on her own terms. She says it feels refreshing doing something that you love for yourself.
Figure skating has been an outlet for members to get away from the stresses of school and refresh their minds on the ice.
"In your classes you do work with your mind, then you get on the ice and work your body," Lindhorst said.
The club's president and Western second-year student, Majka Edwards, said although their first time joining the team was nerve-racking, they immediately felt welcomed no matter what skill level they had.
"They fostered an environment that is easy to progress my skills in, without feeling judged for my mistakes," they said. "I've not met another atmosphere like being on the team."
According to Niva, everyone is there to have a good time; the experience is what you want it to be.
Western's figure skating club has an upcoming spring show, after their March competition, at the Bellingham Sportsplex on May 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and May 27 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
For photos of the figure skating club, click here.
Briana Tuvey (she/her) is the photo and social media editor for The Front this quarter. She just finished her third year at Western and is majoring in visual journalism with a minor in psychology and sociology. She enjoys photography, reading, watching soccer (especially Sounders FC), and spending time with her friends and family.
You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.